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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 5, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

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>> and he was, you know, watching the making, and at this particular point that when playing charlie chan he said lie detector? you mean, wife? i've got one. [laughter] but turns out it was just a trial. it wasn't real making, it was just giving a test. so, unfortunately, you know, we don't have the recording, although it was described in "the new york times" article for that matter. but anyway, so eventually it's in my book, he took a picture. and the family wants to have -- i don't know where the picture is now. i was trying to track it down, but i couldn't. he gave a copy of the photograph inscribed, you know, from
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charlie chan to, you know, the real charlie chan, you know? it's a great, you know, story, really. yeah. thank you. >> [inaudible] thank you very much. >> thank you all for coming. thank you. [applause] >> yunte huang is an english professor at the university of california, santa barbara. for more information visit his web site, yuntehuang.com. >> sunday on booktv's "in depth," r. 'em met tyrrell has written over a half dozen books, and his latest, "after the hangover: the conservatives' road to recovery." join our three hour conversation with your e-mails, phone calls and tweets live sunday at noon
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eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> next, james buckley, former new york senator, undersecretary of state in the reagan administration and judge on the u.s. court of appeals argues against the expansion of the federal government. and contends that it's growth questions the original intent of the framers of the constitution. he presents thoughts at the heritage foundation in washington, d.c., it's an hour. [applause] >> well, i suppose the first thing, jim, is i'm a little bit uncertain. should we address you as senator, as judge, as undersecretary of state? [laughter] which do you prefer? >> very confusing. how about jim? [laughter] >> a man of the people. [laughter] well, this wonderful book, jim, "freedom at risk," which are
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remarks and speeches and statements and articles which you've written over the last several years with a very little bit of a disturbing title, though, "freedom at risk." so i guess the first question that, i'm sure, we'd like to have you address is how much freedom is at risk, and what do we do about it? >> that's a tall order, isn't it? i do believe that freedom is at risk if you're talking about the personal autonomy, the exercise of personal responsibility that has been at the root of our country since its founding. i believe that the time is relatively short for us to e reassert with vigor the principles that have safeguarded us in the years past. back in 1976 when i was running for re-election in the senate, it was my misfortune to have as an opponent the formidable
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daniel patrick moynihan. he won handily. but in our first encounter he told the audience that i was a really fine fellow, but unfortunately, my feet were stuck in the 18th century. in response i admitted that i was guilty as charged. i confessed, and during feelty to the values embedded in the declaration of independence and the united states constitution. i neglected to confess my equal feelty to the insights in adam smith's "wealth of nations." the question then, of course, and the question today is to whether those values and institutions and insights have any relevance to the extraordinarily different world in which we now live. i believe they do.
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i believe they do today. the fact is that our country was created by a remarkable group of men, people like james madison who had studied the history of experiments in freedom from the most ancient times, the times of greece and athens and on through the ages. and in just about every instance freedom eventually failed. why? because of the one factor in human affairs which is a constant, namely human nature. in this case they're talking about the impulse to concentrate power that is exercised either by the individual desperate or by a parliamentary majority.
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so in constructing the constitution madison said it became -- although ultimate respondent for protecting our -- responsibility for protecting our freedoms lies with the people, responsible people, self-reliant people, what he called auxiliary precautions are also required. and these were in the case of our constitution the principle of the o balance of powers between co-equal branches of government and the principle of federalism, namely the reservation for the states and localities. those entities closest to the people, most knowledgeable of their problems. all power -- [inaudible] all powers not specifically allocated to the federal government in the constitution which were largely concerned
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with things like foreign policy, the military, coinage, currency and so on which are, had inherently to be national if we were to end up with a coherent national government. over the years the checks and balances worked pretty well. there are constant arguments between the executive and the legislature as to which is the more equal, and once in a while for were better or for worse the supreme court sneaks in and shows that it's more equal than the others. [laughter] but the principle of federalism has virtually been ruled out of existence. over the years encroachments by congress and/or the executive that have been sanctioned by the court have so diluted the principle that today it is
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virtually impossible to identify an exercise of governmental authority by the federal government that the supreme court will rule unconstitutional. what has been the effect of this, an extraordinary expansion that concentration of power in washington that the founders feared. and because those encroachments have been progressive and a lot of them under the cover of public attention, i don't think that there are many americans today that recognize the extraordinary transformation that has occurred in our country in recent years. for the first 150 years, the original plan was pretty much intact. but beginning with the new deal we saw that more aggressive
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exercise of the federal presence. and i think this is best illustrated by the fact that when i went to law school, the united states code which containses the total -- contains the total body of u.s. statutory law consisted of three volumes. today there are 30 volumes. but i think the most telling statistic has to do with in terms of emphasizing and describing the nature of the changes has to do with title 42 of the code which contains all the laws relative to education and public welfare. when i went to law school, title 42 consisted of 128 pages. today it consists of 6,200 pages
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or 1700 more pages than the entire body of federal law at the time the new deal started. but i that, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. because increasingly federal legislation has taken the form of the creation of bureaus and agencies that are, in turn, endowed with ever-prodder responsibility -- ever-broader responsibility and discretion in defining the specific rules that will be governing our activities and our lives and that have the force of law. and, unfortunately, congress in recent years has, first of all, increasing the number of violations of regulations that are criminalized. and number two, of waiving the constitutional -- or, rather, the common law requirement that you know you're breaking a law before you can be thrown in
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jail. so today it is quite possible to be thrown in jail for violating a regulation, the existence of which you had no reason to know existed. but in any event, this accumulation of these trends that i think have resulted in the omni presence of the federal government, the extraordinary increase in the spending by the federal government and preemption of national income and the depths that are towering beyond sight as a result of the entitlement programs that have been put in place. freedom that i think exist today and that are already having its effect in constraining the ability of individuals and individual enterprises to exercise nonthreatening activities. what can be done about it?
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well, first of all, in terms of relying on the balance of powers there's sort of a conspiracy, you might say, between each branch of the federal government to exercise in common predominance over the states, and federalism is no longer a restraint on power which leaves us with the people. and the vital question today is whether the american people retain that independence, spirit of independence, that spirit of self-reliance, that spirit of responsibility that was summed up by the founders in the term "republican virtue," namely the willingness to subordinate
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individual advantage to the public good. we're putting that to the test. i think the tea party movement is something that is the vehicle through which we are going to see whether this test works or not. the question is, has there been over time a change in the american character? that once prized individual autonomy -- [inaudible] be or will it capitulate to the reducements produced by the entitlement state? time will tell. >> well, jim, it seems that you're talking about and putting an awful lot of looking to the people rather than to the state. and you mentioned several times not only today, but also in your book about the importance of federalism and how we looked to that for so hong.
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is it possible -- so long. is it possible that somehow the states might not rise up and help to bring about a greater balance in these checks and balances? >> they ought to, and before the 16th amendment -- or is it the 17th amendment? in 17th amendment which made senators not appointed by state legislators, but elected have less influence upon states. but here again because of the expansion of federal grants and aid programs, the states themselves have become more and more dependent on handouts from washington which, unfortunately, include a whole series of federal requirements that have been transforming states more and more into the mere administrators of federal policies instead of being the originators and applicants of their own policies to handle the
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discreet problems that happen in any organized society. and we also have the terrible situation today in which the states themselves have, are facing formidable deficits. one figure i saw is over $250 billion, to say nothing of towering contention obligations as a result of improvident retirement plans promised public employees. so a bunch of states are all the way from mine of connecticut to california are facing critical challenges. and undoubtedly, people are going to come hand -- hat in hand to the federal government to bail them out. it is my personal recommendation having gone through the new york city crisis in 1974-'75 which assured my defeat --
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[laughter] when i fought the idea of a federal bailout for new york. i think that the kindest thing that the federal government can do to say nothing for federalism is to deny a single l penny of federal money to bail out state and municipal governments. i should also note, incidentally, that the fife states -- fave states in the greatest fiscal problem are the wealthiest in the nation. it's a fraction of the amount of money sent to washington, so clinically they should be able to handle their problems on their own and be forced to do so. >> as you said, you had this unique opportunity, and i was trying to do some region -- research as just how unique are you. how many other americans have had this opportunity to serve in all three branches? perhaps that's a research project. >> well, i started that research
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project once. as far as i know, i'm the only one alive. [laughter] >> and very much so. >> i had a book of existing biographies of existing federal judges, and then i got as far as secretary of state, supreme court justice and senator. so you can't possibly beat that combination. >> well, perhaps we have a latter day james byrnes here. >> no, it's too late. i haven't made the supreme court. >> well, maybe not. [laughter] we'll see, we'll see. of these careers do you have a favorite? i mean, among them? >> yes. let's put it this way, if one's primary interest is in matters of public policy, there could
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not have been a more glorious position to have than to have been a united states senator 100 or more years ago. why the past tense, because by virtue of congress bringing more and more matter t -- matters of concern within its scope, you have transformed the ability to think in congress. when i entered the senate? 197 -- when i entered the senate in 1970, i read a study which had concluded that the workload of the average congressional office had doubled every five years since 1935. but once upon a time service in congress was, you were citizen
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servants. you were -- congress is in session five, six or seven months of the year. the activities were leisurely. when debate was occurring on the floor, everyone was expected to be there to hear what was being said. you could think things through, there was comity among all members, there were discussions on and off the floor. it was relaxed. but with this doubling and redoubling, the point came when there were no longer enough hours in the day or months in the year to accommodate thoughtful discussion and analysis of the issues. and so it has become, in my personal experience -- but i'm a slow reader, that complicates things -- in my personal experience it became almost impossible to do a decent job of the primary responsibility, and
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that is to think through questions of public policy and to come out with reason, the solutions to it. but nevertheless, in the ideal world the legislative would suit my particular chemistry best. >> uh-huh. >> the others are extremely interesting and rewarding, and i had no trouble recognizing that when i was the judge, i had a totally different role. and that was to faithfully apply the rules and regulations that congress had put in place and not that i thought were desirable. >> one in particular piece of legislation that you're proud of, there was something called buckley v. something or other which -- >> buckley v -- [inaudible] that was not legislation, that was litigation.
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>> uh-huh. >> buckley v. vallejo has become the most cited case in recent supreme court history, and it involved a challenge to the campaign reform act of 1974. my co-plaintiffs and i had the temerity to conclude that the limitation on the ability of an individual to support a candidate of his choice was not merely unconstitutional, the supreme court disagreed with me and as a federal judge i defer to that, but also very bad public policy. if you want me to explain why, i'll -- >> yes, please. indeed. i think that's very appropriate. we're constantly consumed with this idea of fundraising. we're always talking about it. >> to get the full flavor of the case and to understand what is
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really involved in it i must first state that the campaign reform act of '74 placed limits on total spending in any federal election as well as a thousand dollar limit on whether an individual can contribute to any candidate and a $5,000 limit on what any individual could contribute to a pac, a political action committee. the people who joined together to challenge the constitutionality of the package involved me, although i was then a sitting senator. i had one election as the third party candidate, the candidate of the conservative party of new york and was the first person to be elected on a third party
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candidacy in 40 years. i was joined by former senator eugene mac car think -- mccarthy who had challenged lyndon johnson for re-election and had waged a significant -- sufficiently significant initial campaign to cause lyndon johnson to drop out of the race. he was also, another co-plaintiff was the new york civil liberties union, the new york conservative party, stuart mott who had contributed $220,000 to the eugene mccarthy campaign. now, what was the common element of these groups? they were outside the norm of
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the political establishment. the the our concern that if -- it was our concern that if this law was kept intact, it would squeeze out the ability of challengers to come in and confront the political establishment. we won on one side, and that is the limitations on individual -- what could be spent in any campaign. we lost on the individual contributions because the supreme court just said that the appearance or fact of corruption supported this restraint. but the effect has been to consolidate the power of the establishment, especially
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incumbents who have extraordinary advantages over challengers. to elevate pacs into important factors in election and far more likely to corrupt individuals. and to discourage individual and spontaneous action because of the rules and regulations that have been created in order to enforce these laws. so it has distorted american politics in a very, very real way, and i think one that it's a harmful way. >> you talked about comity that used to prevail in the senate, perhaps there was still some trace of that when you were in the senate some 30, 40 years ago. of course, today i think we really have to bring up -- it's
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pretty hard to avoid it -- what's going on right now. are you concerned about that? >> well, i'm concerned about it, and when i entered the senate, it oozed with civility. [laughter] i was astonished of the warm envelope around you. [laughter] and it was wonderful in terms of making it easier to have real fundamental disagreements on matters of critical importance. but i think that civility is one of the victims of the increasing treadmill aspects of public service now to the point where discussion is really impossible. one political slogan, i guess another, an issue comes up, and it is responded to by political reaction rather than a thoughtful process examining what the merits are, willingness
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to reach out and to understand the other one's point of view and to try to persuade that individual that you're wrong. how one recaptures that, i don't know, but i think one way to recapture -- and my constant theme to go back to federalism -- is to reduce the number of issues that distract and splinter our congressional attention into a thousand little pieces. >> right. the question of fundraising, we've talked a little bit about that, i'm just curious, what -- how much fundraising did you do when you were running? >> my campaign did a great deal of it. i did none of it. >> [inaudible] >> one of the things that happened, by limiting what can be with, the amount of any individual can give to a candidate, i'm told that members
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of congress now spend most of their time after hours on the phones pleading for money. i never telephoned anyone asking for a cent. i did attend in my election campaign in 1970 maybe a half dozen or a dozen fundraising events and made my spiel, but i had a finance chairman, i had a finance committee, and they raised the money. most of the money i raised was through mail. but before i was able to get into a position where letters could go out across the country, i had to establish that i was a viable candidate. i could not under the present rules have established my viability because in order to get started i had one family,
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one individual put together a pot, one of them alone of about $50,000. that $50,000 enabled me to hire some people i needed to hire to put out brochures, hire a respectable headquarters, the one that bobby kennedy once occupied, and i was taken seriously by the president as a result. but after that fundraising was done, as i say, mostly through the mail. >> i imagine there are probably many members of congress who envy that situation because one hears from them all the time that they're spending 30, 40, 50, 60% of their time in fundraising, not being the kind of legislator that they want to be. in the book, "freedom at risk," which we're going to have copies available to be bought and signed by the author, you talk about the intrusive bureaucracy,
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and you already made mention of that today. and you recommend that citizens be allowed to sue the federal government for damages. >> yes. isn't that reasonable? >> is that constitutional? [laughter] >> it is not constitutional. incidentally, most people who work in the bureaucracies and agencies are good people, intelligent people doing their job. of they become -- they become, as i said, it is a tendency to become so specifically focused on their particular portfolio that they often can't understand the consequences of what they think they ought to do on other parts of society and so on. but start with the thing that they are decent people, good people. but they're also human people, and they're not immune to other
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faults of human nature. and occasionally you'll find people who will be bullying, who will misuse their power. they recognize that whereas they don't have to pay for their lawyers, anybody they're contending with can really reach in and may not be able to afford combating and protecting their rights. so abuse does occur. and in a fair society, a just society it ought to be possible for a citizen to protect legitimate interests and in the process help define the limits of the, of the legitimate exercise of federal authority. as part of the federal government, the agencies enjoy sovereign immunity. but sovereign immunity can be waived. congress has the power, the authority to waive it, and i i think it should. >> well, there's, perhaps,
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something for this new congress to look at. >> why don't you pass this around to every or new member of congress. >> ah, wonderful idea. [laughter] phil, can you get the budget for that? >> tell them to read it. [laughter] >> so we're on the record there. another one of your reforms that you've mentioned, jim, in "freedom at risk" is term limits. you say that you favor term limits. and so i, i was thinking about this. i was thinking, well, that might have meant the early retirement of, for example, bob taft or barry goldwater or even newt gingrich before he became famous. i mean, those are all important conservatives. so -- >> with also congressman frank. >> right, right. barney frank, yes, indeed. [laughter] what about, so, are you really that strongly support i of the idea of -- supportive of the
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idea of term limits? >> i am. >> talk about that. >> the constitution involves all kinds of compromises. human nature is human nature. and as of service -- as we have moved from a system of citizen legislators into career legislators, i think from my own experience what i've been able to see and i think from what people have been able to put together in reading and following the news carefully is the temptation to protect your right to get reelected. the ability to get reelected overwhelms your willingness to always vote the way your conscious tells you you ought to vote. when i was elected even though i was elected as a candidate of the conservative party, i joined the e republican caucus.
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and shortly after we were sworn in, john tower had a meeting for the new members. and he opened by saying your obligation from now on is to insure your re-election. now, so many when you're in office, the bell will ring, and you're supposed to race to the senate floor to vote on you've never heard of -- something you have never heard of before because there's no way of keeping track of everything. there used to be. so what you do is find yourself a friend whose judgment you trust on the relevant committee who -- and ask them, you know, how you should vote. there was a particular friend of mine, a westerner, on the finance committee, and during the last year an issue would come up on the bills that he had
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voted out or had been on the committee that had voted out. and i'd say, john, how should i vote on this? and he said, well, this is what it's all about, and this is the correct way to vote. but your running for re-election in new york this coming year, you've got to vote the other way. that was the accepted premise. and so i think that there has been as a result such a subordination of public interest to the superior interest in being reelected that this restraint on tenure will serve the public good. yes, those wonderful people would not have stayed in. figure i had minus 12 years. >> twelve years. >> which is enough time to accomplish what it is you want
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to, especially if no one else would have more than 12 years seniority on you. and you could then serve as a senior statesman and influence policy. >> well, jim, i know that -- let me ask you this, did you have a chance to vote on raising the debt ceiling? this is going to be a big issue come march/april. >> i had several occasions to vote on the raising the debt issue. and in my day the habit developed to attach something that could never have possibly been voted into law to to the resolution increasing the debt limit to try to sneak bad legislation in on something that in the last analysis has to be approved. you cannot risk destroying the
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credibility of the united states government obligations. no responsible person will vote against doing it. my solution at the time, and i put in an amendment which was voted down, was to abolish the debt limit. it never has had any effect on suppressing the drive to spend more money. that has to come from some other source. >> that might be another possible legislation act by this new congress as well. all these wonderful ideas that we're coming up with here. you talk in the book about many, many things. one of them is the role of religion in the public square. why are so many intelligent people in public life seemingly afraid of religion, and do you
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agree that we should pay more attention to it? >> well, i'll answer your question in two parts. ought religion to be in the public square which, in part, goes to -- let me start with that one, and then i'll get to why so many intelligent people oppose it. and in anticipation of that question i actually brought some, something i can quote. i think it's important. again, getting back to the original understanding of the people who created this country who wrote the first amendment. the thesis that you'll find throughout the early writings is that freedom can only be protected by people who are not only self-reliant, but also virtuous, moral people. and moral people is informed most reliably by religions.
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although the federal government will be forbidden to declare an official religion, to establish a religion, it is not unfriendly to true religion. and the, the congress that adopted the first amendment also reenacted a provision of the northwest ordnance that reads as follows. religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and happiness of mankind, schools and a means of education shall forever be encouraged with the understanding that schools and means of education that you learned about the bible and all kinds of other good things. the congress that enacted the first amendment also made grants of land to serve religious purposes and to finance
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sectarian, missionary work among the indians. in the 1960s -- 1860s what became known and considered the most authortive analysis of the constitution by thomas cooley who published this treatise in 1868, he said that the framers considered entirely appropriate for government, quote, to foster religious worship and religious institutions as conservatives of the public morals and valuable, if not indispensable assistance to the preservation of the public order. so that is totally at odds with the current thesis that religion is purely a private concern. why are so many intelligent people saying banish it from the public square? if you can find it anywhere in the public square these days. we have been engaged in a
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cultural revolution since the 1960s. a lot of the leaders of the cultural revolution are highly intelligent. they feared the power of religion, they know the americans are the most religious people on earth after either the arab community -- [laughter] and they fear it influence. being intelligent, they want to keep it out of the public square which doesn't keep them from having their anti-religious within the confine bees of the public square -- confines of the public square. >> jim, i think we're all pretty much agreed that we're at war with terrorism, that we, of course, are engaged in two military operations, one in afghanistan, one in iraq still. and you talk about vietnam. and i'm wondering, do you see any lessons from the vietnam war that we can apply -- >> i think there are some real lessons, and that is you don't back away from commitments you
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make under domestic pressure, political pressure. if you do, you invite all kinds of problems in the years to follow. in vietnam -- this has nothing to do with how you get into an engagement. once involved you have a central interest to protect others, those you went in to serve. we ended up signing the paris accords. in the paris accords -- and incidentally, we got a lot of people to go in with us. in reliance on american determination, american strength and the leaf that the united states -- belief that the united states would accomplish its goals. towards the end all american troops were brought out of vietnam. we signed the paris accords which were supposed to settle
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the war. and in those accords we undertook the obligation to keep the south vietnamese military supplied sufficiently to offset onslaughts from the north. the communist bloc continues to pour in weapons and highly sophisticated ones into the north and at a certain point the congress voted to not send another nickel to vietnam. at the time, incidentally, the south vietnamese were doing a very good job of not only holding their ground, but even gaining some ground. once they couldn't have the fuel to run the tanks and planes and couldn't buy more ammunition, they collapsed. as a result, the soviet union was so emboldened that it had a
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dramatic expansion of the areas where it assumed -- not physical control, but brought people within the communist circuit, namely the horn of africa, ethiopia, yemen. they went into the southern part of africa and angola and, ultimately, in the western hemisphere in nicaragua. if i believe we should be very careful of what commitments we make, but if we are perceived to withdraw from afghanistan under domestic pressures before meeting our my mum requirements -- minimum requirements that we believe are required our own security, then we can trigger that same kind of more aggressive expansion of the jihad jihadists on the one hand
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and a shying away of others who had been relying on us o get the job done -- on us to get the job done. i think there are serious consequences, but it also suggests that we should never take on commitments beyond those that are necessary for our security. democratizing afghanistan should not be one of our objectives. >> hmmm. we -- you talk so much about, and properly so, about federalism. and you did make reference to the tea party movement. do you see that? i think we're trying to -- i'm trying to come up with some more optimism here, perhaps. [laughter] do you see that their success b and the recent elections shows that the american people are still for limited government, they're still for individual freedom and responsibility and that they would like to have their congress follow in that same way.
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>> you used federalism earlier, you didn't end with federalism. there's no tea party, it's the most glorious swelling of the grassroots in constructive ways in some areas less constructive than others. but i think it's a tremendous sign of hope because the underlying themes are less intrusive government, less expensive government, and for god sakes don't saddle the next two, three generations with the levels of debt that can't be paid off. i think where federalism comes in is that the easiest way to achieve the three object i haves is -- objectives is to restore the concept of a viable federal bism which the federal government is excluded from intruding, telling the states how to run their own affairs. >> perhaps we could have a
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couple of questions from the audience, our program. please. >> over here, lee. lee? thanks. my i name's derek, senator scott brown's office. you talked a lot about devolving power back to the states and about the federal government being too large. i think one of the areas where republicans typically differ with that approach is in regard to drug policy where the republican plan has been having the dea have a one drug policy for the nation. i was wondering how you, how you settle those two things, where you were on allowing states to differ on drug policy? >> i think you pinpoint one of the dangers, and that is you're sitting here in the capital of the united states. you've got all this power, all this authority, and there's something that's got to be done.
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and i know how to handle it. i'm going to do it, and let's forget what the constitution requires. so even though i would agree, i would tend to agree that it is a national problem, etc., etc., etc., i think in terms of the overall health of the community -- and why should we deny the state of delaware or the state of alaska the authority to decide on their own what is best for their people? they're closest to the problem, they're not going to have a one program fits all sizes. i think there's much to be said, you're going to get far better approaches to the drug problem, and there's something else. there are a lot of people, including conservatives, who believe that the legalization of
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drugs will prove less costly and less damaging to individuals than the present system. and if a state is allowed to follow that policy, the whole country will have the benefit of understanding how it works. >> health care mm -- hmmm. yes, please. here, yeah. >> i have a question about federal regulations, and as a d.c. circuit judge and as a former senator is the vast regulatory state of administrative law, is that -- do you think that that's unconstitutional or that it should just be, congress should just reassert its authority to be the, you know, the legislator and not just delegated to the executive branch? >> it is not unconstitutional, it's extraconstitutional. i don't know if extraconstitutional -- i've never had a problem as to
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whether something's extraconstitutional -- [inaudible] my guess is never having had the issue presented to me that there's a lot of examples even back in colonial times to understand that certain responsibilities -- there must have been an agency in the first congress. created by the first congress. and it must have been given some authority. the, the -- but there is a point, and never having studied it, i don't know where that point is where there is an unconstitutional delegation of, essentially, legislative authority to an agency. and i suspect, again without knowing, that multiple examples of that would be found or could be found in obamacare and in the new bill, the dodd-frank bill
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regulating the commercial -- put it this way, in reading articles about the consequences of obamacare time and again you run into an analysis that says we don't know today how this bill will ultimately affect x, y or z aspects of medical care because the regulator hasn't yet come out with the regulations. it seems to me that congress should never enact a law without knowing what is the impact going to be? >> thank you. i just wanted to ask about term limits because i had initially supported term limits, but then i've seen how it has been
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enacted in some states, the particular example that i'm thinking of is ohio which i have some familiarity with. where the, they've had term limits for a number of years, they've had what happens is people take the maximum in the lower house of the legislature or the upper house, wherever they were when they started, then they run for the other seat in the other house of the legislature. pretty soon you've got 20 some years in there, and then the other aspect of it is when people first come in, they're often reliant on the nonelected staff members to do things. so this is kind of a continuing legislative bureaucracy. so could you address those points? >> yeah. first of all, i had 12 years in the house, 12 years senate which
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means some individuals might end up with 24, but that'd be a tiny minority of the time. in terms of staff, if you're lazy, you can be run by staff. i wasn't run by staff, but i had a mask louse staff. marvelous staff. i think i had the brightest staff on, in the senate at the time. but i came in as kind of a phenomenon. i was the conservative event of the year, so all kinds of people i gathered who have gone on and they've apparently done all kinds of things in the years since. if you know what you want to accomplish, seems to me you get your own staff. but it doesn't mean there aren't elements of truth in what you say, but that's going to be the
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truth no matter what you have. but i do feel the greatest burden is that you have people that can persuade themselves it's more important for the constituents that they be reelected than that they be honest with their constituents. weighing of alternative harms and benefits. >> yes. gentleman on the end here. >> thank you, mr. buckley, for coming here today. my name's travis with the heritage foundation. you have talked today extensively about federalism, and given the willingness of the federal government to force states into submission as with arizona with the immigration bill and the extensive web of red tape and financial dependence of states on the federal government what would you say is the first step that an individual state could take to reempower itself and assert federalism again? >> they can always go to the supreme court which i -- i speak
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with great respect of the supreme court. i have to. i'm a member of the federal judiciary. but when four out of nine justices on the supreme court agree with me in case after case, i don't feel totally out of, out of harm's way. i think what we need to do is get people in congress, a majority who accept the premise that the federal government has gotten so unwieldy that it cannot effectively do very much. that constructively, that is distorting the whole system and threatening our freedoms. but we have a huge amount of money going from the federal government to the states with the strings. if i were emperor for one session of congress, i would confer -- convert all existing grant and aids programs into
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block grants. one education, one road and so on and phase them out over ten years' time. it's going to take about that much time for the states to reengineer what they want to do and you know the rest of it. >> yes, please. yeah. >> [inaudible] i was on your staff in the '70s, handled a lot of your commerce committee work. when you were in the senate, you got involved rather deeply in the deregulation movement for transportation. and after you left office all the deregulation took place under the current administration, and i'm talking about airlines, trucks the railroads. and when carter left office, there were people in the reagan administration who with fought deregulation tooth and nail. and my question to you is, what
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happened to the republican party in that era so that most of the deregulation was done by the democrats? [laughter] and what, why were the role of the parties reversed? [laughter] >> the corruption of power. [laughter] no, i don't have the answer to that, and, of course, that's just the problem we're facing with the new congress now. gingrich brought in a bunch of great people. the contract with america was observed in the early years and then over time we found expenditures accelerating and so on. so i think that the pressure, what is required is that the pressures brought to bear in the last elections cycle desustained year in and year out with
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constant vigilance over how the newly-elected members are, in fact, operating. >> yes, please, in the back. >> mark phillips -- [inaudible] [laughter] in your defense of freedom, is it based more on freedom as a fundamental value, or is it based more on society, people are better off, more productive, happier if they have freedom? is. >> i'm not sure i made that distinction. in my own thinking. interesting one. well, freedom is inherently has to do with human dignity, autonomy, responsibility and is is -- so on. but people who are free and at the same time responsible if
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they've got virtue are, in turn, will create a better society. i'm not sure that answers your question. >> well, ladies and gentlemen, i'm going to have to reluctantly draw this conversation to a close. we've been privileged to spend an hour with a gentleman who pulled off a political hat trick. [laughter] representing all three of our branches of government, did that so wonderfully. and we, i recommend to you highly that you can learn more about his service and also the recommendations so that we don't become a european-style democracy by getting copies of "freedom at risk." mr. buckley will be happy to sign them for you. thank you all, indeed. and join me in thanking -- [applause]
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